The subject of community has been researched extensively by sociologists and anthropologists, less so by historians. The 2009 conference challenged participants to consider the idea of community in relationship to the hospital and, particularly, to reflect on how historians should approach the wide range of communities that continue to be shaped by the work of these institutions. Collectively, the case studies in this volume demonstrate that navigation of the history of hospitals requires an understanding of the societies in which these institutions operated. In other words, hospital histories are not just stories about medical institutions; they offer considerable insight into the communities in which they were situated and with which they intersected.
Communities and War
Jon Arrizabalaga, Pablo Larraz-Andía and Guillermo Sánchez-Martínez Between Medical Innovation and War Propaganda: The Irache Hospital during the Second Carlist War, 1873–18761 The Monastery of Irache is another name for the ancient Benedictine abbey of Santa María la Real, located on the slopes of Montejurra, two miles outside Estella, the main city of southwest Navarra. First erected as a tiny church, at least as early as the eighth century, during the Middle Ages it served as a hospital on the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. In the sixteenth century, the Benedictine order built the abbey, then it founded a university college which functioned until its closure in 1824. The abbey continued operating until the 1840s, when the monastery was expropri- ated by the Spanish Liberal administration as a result of the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal.2 Some years earlier, Irache had been partially occupied and used as a frontline hospital by the Carlist insurgents during the First Carlist War (1833–40). This conf lict was provoked by the branch of the Bourbon dynasty which, after the death of Fernando VII, called for the Salic law of inheritance to be applied. The decision was made to establish the hospi- tal there, as Estella had been adopted as the seat of the insurgents’ court during the war. 1 This article is an outcome of the research projects HUM2006–02263/HIST and HAR2011–24134, funded by the Dirección General de Investigación of the Spanish Ministry of...
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